When Christopher Marczak joined Maury County Public Schools in Tennessee as superintendent in fall 2015, he quickly realized that while every school in his district of 12,000 students was doing the best job possible, each had a vastly different approach to teaching literacy.
“There were no systemic solutions” says Marczak. “Yet I wanted to get away from the traditional school improvement model where people in the central office pick a software, provide professional development, push it down to the teachers and see what happens.”
Over 10 weeks, Marczak met with students, parents, educators and community groups and asked the simple question, “What should students know before leaving elementary, middle, and high school?” From these conversations, Maury County’s “7 Keys for College and Career Readiness” were created. Keys 1 and 3 require all students to be at or above grade level for reading proficiency at the end of third and sixth grades. To meet that goal, in spring 2016 Marczak recommended a solution he had used successfully in a previous district.
“I knew we needed a platform that measures reading by reading” he says. “And myON makes it easy to analyze usage and growth like our Keys require.”
Simple yet powerful
myON is a digital literacy environment with more than 10,000 interactive books. Assistive reading tools such as word lookup and annotation drive engagement and help students improve their close reading skills. The administrative dashboard allows educators to track time spent reading and Lexile growth at the individual, class and grade levels in real time.
“We measure student progress through RTII and by their vocabulary, silent reading fluency and comprehension growth through the aimsmweb+ assessment” says Marczak. “Because we track both of these, we can compare growth against myON to truly determine that students are progressing.”
Marczak says the summative assessments tell him only whether a student can answer a question correctly or not. Standardized tests and quizzes provide only snippets of information, after the fact, leaving educators, parents and students with an incomplete, and at times inaccurate, picture of reading and literacy skills. Other methods used such as self-reported reading logs and surveys can be laborious and unreliable.
myON captures student data in realtime which helps Maury County educators accelerate learning and ensure every student is reading on grade level.
Using a combination of Lexile¬Á scores, time spent reading and pages read, educators can effectively measure reading with reading.
From spring 2016 through September 2016, Maury County students read 82,276 books and spent more than 15,254 hours reading. The district has seen clear Lexile growth for grades 1 through 8. Enthusiasm is particularly high with third- and fourth-graders; these grade levels account for 40 percent of total hours read.
“Parents say they have to tell their students to get off their devices and stop reading myON and get to bed” says Marczak. “Students think myON is fun and love the variety of books.”
One feature of myON is its ability to read to kids, audiobook-style. One principal recounted to Marczak that an ELL parent came into their school crying of happiness because when myON read to her children in English, it helped her learn the language.
“That’s a power of the program” says Marczak. “It creates opportunities for students and their parents.”
Another group myON is creating opportunities for in Maury County is the students at the alternative middle school and high school.
“Students at these schools have difficulty conforming to a traditional school structure” says Marczak. “But it’s pretty cool to ask a kid who is academically struggling if they like myON and they smile and say they like it, that they like reading.”
Measuring reading with reading not only supports teachers in delivering individualized instruction and guidance, but helps students reflect on their reading, see their growth and become motivated to improve.
This was produced by DA for myON. For more information, visit www.myon.com